65 The original is "non est Deus proeter te-per proprietatem substantioe." It must be remembered St. Ambrose was a civil magistrate before he was made bishop. His mind would be disposed therefore to regard things under a legal aspect.
77 Dan. iv. 25. In the number of the three children was shadowed forth the number of Persons in the Trinity, whilst in the Angel, who was one, was.shown the Unity of power or nature. In another way, too, St. Ambrose points out, was the Trinity typified in that event, inasmuch as God was praised, the Angel of God was present, and the Spirit, or the Grace of God spake in the children.-H.
78 In the original Catholic, i.e. "Catholics." Heresies might become widespread-the Arian heresy, indeed, counted numerous adherents in the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries-but they took their rise in some member or other of the ecclesiastical body, in some one of the many local churches which together made up the one oecumenical church. On the other hand, the primitive teaching, received from the apostolic age, had been delivered without difference in every place to which it had penetrated. It was acknowledged and established before sects and heresies; its original was divine, theirs only human; it rested on the rock of Christ's authority, speaking through His apostles, whilst they were built on the sands of preeminence in sophistry and captious interpretation; it was for all times and places, therefore, but they were only for a season. In this belief those who clave to the teaching of the apostles claimed for themselves the name of "Catholics," and for the oecumenical church of which they were members that of "Catholic and Apostolic." To avoid any misunderstanding, I have used the term "orthodox," which will stand very well for "Catholic," inasmuch as "the right faith" is for all, without difference, to hold-in a word, universal, or, as it is in Greek, kaq olou (whence kaqolikoj, Catholicus, Catholic).
81 The original was: "Cum conditor ipse sit temporum," which, rendered more closely word for word, is, "whereas He Himself is the ordainer of times," or "ages." The Latin tempora is the equivalent of the Greek aiwnej, which is commonly rendered "worlds" in the A.V. of the New Testament, e.g. Heb. i. 2; Rom. xii. 2; 1 Cor. i. 20; 1 Cor. ii. 6; 2 Cor. iv. 4; Gal. i. 4; 2 Tim. iv. 10. But aiwn also means "age"-"for ever and ever" is the rendering of eij aiwnaj aiwnwn ("unto ages of ages") or eij ton aiwna. The term denotes the world as a complex, the parts of which are presented to us in succession of time, from which notion is derived its use to denote a selection of the parts so presented, collectively termed an "age" or "time." Another word rendered "world" in the N.T. is kosmoj, which frequently occurs in St. John; and St. Paul also has it, in conjunction with aiwn in Eph. ii. 2. "According to the course (aiwna) of this world (kosmou)." Kosmoj means the world as an ordered whole, as opposed to a chaos. The use of "world" to translate both kosmoj and aiwn may be justified on the ground that we cannot think of time void of objects and events, whilst, on the other hand, we know not-at least, have never observed-any objects and events not in time. For us "time" is a necessary form of thought.
82 The Arians asserted that the Son had no existence before He was begotten and that He was "formed out of nothing" or "out of things non-existent;" i.e. that He owed His existence to the Father's absolute fiat, just as much as the light (Gen. i. 3). Furthermore, the Son's will was mutable; He might have fallen like Satan. The Father, foreseeing that the Son would not fall, bestowed on Him the titles of "Son" and "Logos."
83 Arius' arguments against believing in Christ as the Almighty Power of God were based on the N.T. records of Christ's agony and prayer in view of death, which he thought must imply, not only changeableness of will, but also limitation of power. Had Christ been omnipotent, like the Father, He would bare had no fears for Himself, but would rather have imparted strength to others.
84 Arius' teaching on this head appears to be fairly enough represented by Athanasius: "When God, being purposed to establish created Nature, saw that it could not bear the immediate touch of the Father's hand, and His operation, He in the first place made and created a single Being only, and called Him `Son0' and `Logos0' to the end that by His intermediate ministry all things might henceforth be brought into existence." Contra Arianos, Oratio II. §24.
85 Christ, according to the Arians, was not truly God, though He was called God. Again, He was only so called in virtue of communication of grace from the Father. Thus He obtained His title and dignity, though the name of God was used, in speaking of Him in a transference, such as we find in Ps. lxxxii. 6; though Christ's claim to such a title far transcended any other.
88 It would, I think, be unfair to construe this passage into an absolute condemnation of all the results of human activity, arrived at without any conscious dependence on what we mean by revelation. We must remember, too, what "philosophy" was in the world into which St. Paul was born. It was no longer the golden age of philosophic activity-with the exception of Stoicism, there was hardly a school which exerted any elevating moral influence. Besides, the "philosophy" of which St. Paul was especially thinking when he wrote tile passage cited (Col. iii. 8, 9) was hardly worthy of the name. It was one of the earliest forms of Gnosticism, and among other practices inculcated worship of angels i.e. of created beings-"Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers." See Col. i. 16-18; Eph. i. 20-22. Such "philosophies," falsely so-called, would tend to bring philosophy in general into disfavour with the teachers of the Church. Yet we find Eusebius, in the fourth century, calling the Faith "the true philosophy" (H. E. IV. 8). The adoption of the term to denote what St. Luke called "the way" (Acts xix. 23) appears to have been due to the action of apologists like Justin Martyr, who set themselves to meet the wise of this world with their own weapons, on their own ground.
89 The original conception of Dialectic, as exhibited, for instance, in Plato's Republic, hardly answers to this. According to Plato, the aim of Dialectic, so far from being destructive, was distinctly edifying. The Dialectic method, as its name implies, was one which took the external form of question and answer. It had a definite, positive object, viz., tile attainment by force of pure reason to the clear vision of the Absolute Good, the ultimate cause of knowledge and existence. The sphere of Dialectic was pure reason, then, and its object the ultimate truth of things. (Republic, VII. p. 532.) The method which St. Ambrose here calls "Dialectic" would have been more correctly entitled "Elenchus."
91 Eunomius, at one time Bishop of Cyzicus, came into prominence about 355 a.d. Like Arius, he taught that the Son was a creature, though the first and most perfect of God's creatures; His office being to guide other creatures to knowledge of the source of their existence. Religion then in his view consisted in a right and complete intellectual apprehension of a metaphysical principle, and no more. The generation of the Son he regarded as an event in time, not supra-temporal. The point where Eunomius went beyond Arius was the assertion of the comprehensibility for the human mind of the Divine Essence. Those, he said, who declared God to be in His Essence incomprehensible, who taught that He could only know in part and by token, preached an unknown God, and denied all possible knowledge of God, and therefore, since without knowledge of God there could be no Christianity, did not even deserve the name of Christians.
92 Aëtius was Eunomius' teacher. He became Bishop of Antioch, the see of which was secured for him by the Arian Eudoxius, who obtained Cyzicus for Eunomius. Aetius and Eunomius were, however, deposed about a.d. 360.
95 Hercules found it impossible to slay the Hydro (a monster water snake) of the Lernean marshes by merely striking off its head, inasmuch as whenever one was cut off, two immediately grew in its place. He was compelled to sear the wound with fire. One of the heads was immortal, and Hercules could only dispose of it by crushing it under a huge rock.
96 For Scylla and Charybdis, see Homer, Odyss. XI.; Virgil, Aen. III. 424 f. The strait, bestrewed with wreckage of the faith (1 Tim. i. 19) corresponds to the strait between the rock of Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. In order to avoid the latter, mariners were compelled to pass close under the former, whereupon the monster darted out and seized them, dragging them out of a ship as an angler whips a fish out of water (Odyss. XI. 251-255). The language of this passage shows plainly that St. Ambrose, in writing it, drew freely upon Virgil.